Mining Mathematics in Textbook Lessons


In this paper, we propose an analytic tool for describing the mathematics made available to learn in a ‘textbook lesson’. The tool is an adaptation of the Mathematics Discourse in Instruction (MDI) analytic tool that we developed to analyze what is made available to learn in teachers’ lessons. Our motivation to adapt the use of the MDI analytic framework to textbooks is to test the relative robustness of the framework in moving across different pedagogic texts (e.g. video of a lesson, a textbook lesson). Our initial findings suggest it has applicability across pedagogic texts, thus opening possibilities for using a common framework and language in research and in professional development activities involving the written and enacted curricula.

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    Trends in Mathematics and Science Study

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    Further detail on WMCS is available at

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    Notice that the word examples here is not the same as they way we define example in the analytic tool described in the previous section.

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    We use this term in the sense of Adler (1999, 2001) to mean that while analytically distinct, and appear as a dichotomy, there are not either-ors in the work of teaching. Dilemmas have to be ‘managed’.

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    We acknowledge the resonances here with Stacey & Vincent’s (2009) description of explanation in textbooks in terms of seven ‘modes of reasoning’, particularly in relation to the categories of authority, empirical arguments and generality. Our simpler categorization is a function of our purposes to examine opportunities to learn more comprehensively, and thus for a relatively simple categorization within each of our elements of MDI. Indeed there are resonances here too with endorsement as an element of Sfard’s (2008) theorization of mathematical discourse. Further work in the field that combines these, recognizing the different empirical grounds from which descriptions of substantiation in school mathematics have been developed is a task to take forward.


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Correspondence to Erlina Ronda.

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Ronda, E., Adler, J. Mining Mathematics in Textbook Lessons. Int J of Sci and Math Educ 15, 1097–1114 (2017).

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  • Analytic framework
  • Curriculum studies
  • Mathematics discourse
  • Opportunities to learn
  • Socio-cultural theory
  • Textbooks studies